Interview with Otto Becker

Otto Becker is hoping to hear his favourite song

Marcus Ehning and Ludger Beerbaum, Simone Blum and Daniel Deußer, Christian Ahlmann, Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann and Laura Klaphake: All of the top German riders are competing at the Aachen International Jumping. That’s great for Otto Becker, because he doesn’t have that many opportunities to watch all of his protégés in action at once. We spoke to him about this, about the sport in Corona times and about jumping in the Deutsche Bank Stadium.

Question: What do you think about the first edition of the Aachen International Jumping?
Otto Becker: Very good, just like one is accustomed to from Aachen. Everything is excellent for the athletes, the grooms are being well taken care of too. It is really rather unusual for us to compete in the Deutsche Bank Stadium. However, the footing is good, the horses are jumping well, the warm-up is working out fine, everything is well organised. The hygiene regulations are very meticulous, but that is a very good thing. I haven’t heard a single complaint from the riders so far – which is always a very good sign (laughs).


Question: There are a lot of German riders here – is that a tough job for the national coach?
Becker: Yeah, of course there are plenty to watch, but to be quite honest: It is, of course, much more relaxed than at the CHIO Aachen, which is significantly more stressful for us. But yes, there are a lot of riders here, they were all over keen to be able to compete here, the number of enquiries in the run-up to the event underlined that. Of course, I am taking advantage of the opportunity to hold dialogues with as many riders as possible and to take a look at the odd younger horse. I am enjoying the days here and will above all hold plenty of talks.


Question: Not only the German show-jumpers, many international top stars are also competing here. Do you already have a favourite for the Allianz Prize on Sunday?
Becker: Pooh, no – so many of the world’s best riders are here as well as our entire squad members, I really wouldn’t like to highlight anyone in particular. But with such a first-class line-up we can definitely look forward to an exciting jumping class. And I would be delighted if we can subsequently hear our favourite song – the German national anthem.


Question: You will most certainly be taking an even closer look at specifically one participant, namely your daughter, Mia-Charlotte. Is it always something very special watching one’s own daughter?
Becker: Definitely. She has the opportunity to compete in the Young Riders competitions here, and logically I am quite nervous – but I’ll have to cope with that. She will too, because it is also an exceptional experience for her of course, Aachen is simply something special. These are exciting times for both of us.


Question: How important is it that shows are allowed to take place at all at present?
Becker: Very, very important. There were next to no shows in the early summer, then things started picking up slowly with late-entry international 2*-level shows. So far there has virtually been nothing at the level we are experiencing here in Aachen. Which is why we are delighted to be able to take part here, indeed the line-up of competitors speaks for itself. So, it is very good to have this show.


Question: And what the winter will bring…
Becker: …nobody knows. A few indoor shows, the World Cup shows have also already been cancelled and as far as the top sport is concerned, it still remains to be seen at the moment. We have already put a difficult time behind us, but a difficult period no doubt still lies ahead of us too. Which is all the more reason to enjoy Aachen.

Otto Becker removed his mask for the photo – otherwise strict hygiene regulations prevail across the entire showgrounds. Photo: Aachen International Jumping

Otto Becker removed his mask for the photo – otherwise strict hygiene regulations prevail across the entire showgrounds. Photo: Aachen International Jumping